Doughnuts have been trending since the pandemic began: Wake & Bake, the Doughnut Club and the aptly named Pandemic Donuts have all opened since last spring; Berkeley Donuts and Third Culture Bakery rose up just before that and continued to provide sweet comfort at a brisk pace over the course of 2020. During these comfort-craving months, creativity and tradition have been given equal attention, with old-fashioned favorites sharing space in your dozen with more adventurous offerings.
Also popular as we all spend more time at home: food delivery. And at the collision point of convenience and craveability sits El Secreto, a new online pastry company that specializes in Puerto Rican baked goods and eye-popping doughnuts.
El Secreto's co-founder, Adriana Negrón, hails from Puerto Rico, and many of her new bakery's treats are faithful representations of the island's flavors. "We get all of our guava directly from Puerto Rico," the baker notes.
She and fellow pastry chef Jose Torres use that guava to fill flaky pastelitos dusted with powdered sugar; other Puerto Rican specialties include quesitos (puff pastry filled with queso crema) and mallorcas (sweet bread rolls, with or without cheese). El Secreto also makes several unique seasonal creations with Caribbean flavors at the forefront, like the holiday-season coquito doughnut bars that come with a creamy filling reminiscent of coquito, a coconut-milk version of eggnog, or piña colada doughnuts topped with razor-thin slivers of dried pineapple.
The doughnuts appeal to the eye as well as the tastebuds, and come in the form of light and airy crullers (a recent version had gold leaf, powdered sugar, bourbon chocolate mousse and dulce de leche), standard yeast-raised doughnuts (though the rotating flavors are anything but standard), and filled doughnuts like the Crème Brûlée, complete with a crackly caramel coating and a custard interior.
Typically, orders (with a $20 minimum) can be placed online any day of the week for delivery the next day, but El Secreto just added same-day service, so if you order by 2 p.m. and text "night21" to 850-714-2684, you'll get your pastries between 7 and 9 p.m. that night. Visit El Secreto's Instagram page for specials and updates, then order on the bakery's website. And with Valentine's Day coming up, you can pre-order a chocolate heart shell that comes with a miniature wooden mallet, five Ferraro-Rochet doughnuts, a personalized message (which you provide) and a butterfly surprise.
The secret to happiness, it turns out, is doughnut delivery.
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